pladis has come out with its second annual biscuit review – Biscuits in Britain 2016: A Year of Change – which outlines the state of the £2.4bn biscuit category.
The report found that UK consumers continued to demonstrate their loyalty to biscuits, with 99% of UK households purchasing the product, which were consumed on average three times a week and on nearly 6 billion occasions in 2016. This makes the category the second-largest snackfood in the UK, outperforming crisps, cakes and popcorn.
However, the category also faced challenges that impacted its overall performance, such as the floods across Cumbria and the ‘The Great British Biscuit Shortage’, which had lasting effects across the year and were a significant factor in the overall decline of biscuit sales. The changing promotional landscape was another contributing factor, with retailer promotional strategies changing from multibuy deals to single price points thus driving less volume. These headwinds, coupled with a macro deflationary environment, meant that any growth coming through in biscuits was negated.
Despite this, pladis maintained its position as the leading biscuit manufacturer with over 22% market share driven by the McVitie’s brand, which realised sales of over £343m. This was complemented by the biggest sweet biscuit launch for ten years, McVitie’s Digestives Nibbles, and the growth of the Everyday Treats category.
The research revealed that taste is still an important driver of purchase and consumers choose snackfoods based on key need states, motivated by both emotional and functional reasons. Emotional needs such as connecting with others and rewards are just as important as the functional needs of hunger and health.
James Thomas, UK Head of Category Development, pladis comments: “We can be confident about the future as we see biscuits moving with the times and continuing to fulfil both shopper and consumer needs. Biscuits play an important role within Snacking and are well-placed to respond to evolving category drivers and future headwinds.”